JUST OUT (on sale from April 2001)

 My Quest to Fly
Memories and Photos of China with the American and Chinese Air Forces, 1936-1940

Sebie Biggs Smith

Pester your bookshop or library for this one - and this is not an advertisement.

My Quest to Fly concerns the foreign pilots and advisors, such as the author, who "flew for China" in one of the most intriguing East/West interractions of modern warfare.

The book relives a key episode from the terrible jigsaw we call World War Two in a first-hand story featuring personal close-ups of such mythic figures as:

    - Soong Mei-ling (Mme. Chiang Kai-shek); Claire (Lee) Chennault  whose "Flying Tigers" (1941/2) became the best known  group of flyers in the world (also the subject of a John Wayne movie); W. H. Donald, the legendary "Donald of China"; Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek; and many more.

I am devoting space to this episode in my own books on Donald. While American pilots (like Mr. Smith) made the most romantic foreign contribution, other nationals became similarly involved in China's defence - including Frenchmen, Canadians, Russians, Britishers, Australians and New Zealanders not necessarily approved by their governments. One such Australian contacted me four years ago after hearing of my research, hinting that he had film footage featuring Donald . Suddenly, he withdrew, apparently (even now) fearful of government reprisals for illegally fighting for China some 60 years before. We never met.

For more information on My Quest to Fly go direct to the publisher, New South Books:

- Frank Bren (April, 2001)










Major-General Claire Lee Chennault, in his book Way of a Fighter (Thomas Allen Ltd, Toronto, 1948) recalled: "In Shanghai, I met the two people who really enlisted me in China's cause - W. H. Donald and Madame Chiang Kai-shek. Donald was an incredible, ruddy, sandy-haired Australian who knocked about China for years as a newspaperman and consultant to various local warlords. Refusing to eat a morsel of Chinese food and scorning to learn the language, Donald knew China and the power politics of Asia as few men ever will ...."


HomeDon Who?!World views DonA Chinese life ...Don - the BookDon - the PlayDeath in ShanghaiScholarlyChinese researchOn the AuthorTOPPersonals 


Shanghai, Jan. 13, 1939 ...






W. H. Donald
1875 - 1946HomeDon Who?!World views DonA Chinese life ...Don - the BookPlay/MovieDeath in ShanghaiScholarlyChinese researchOn the AuthorPersonals 


Copyright, Frank Bren 2001. Photographs of Mr. Donald and friends are reproduced by kind permission of the Donald family (Australia) and Ansie Lee Sperry (USA). For all enquiries, please contact the Manager via . Oh, and many thanks for visiting this site.